This meticulously renovated riverfront palace, built in 1812 and known as the Darbhanga Mahal, is simply exquisite. From the period chandeliers to the oriental rugs to the carved stone columns and artwork on the walls, this is the most authentic and luxurious heritage hotel along the ghats. Its Darbhanga restaurant may well be the best in Varanasi.
Enter from the ghats by elevator – the original was one of India's first, hoisted by horse and pulley! Nonguests are not allowed beyond the ground floor.